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Middle Schoolers at KYA

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By Ron Benningfield

LaRue County Middle School’s 25-pupil strong Kentucky Youth Assembly delegation introduced two bills dealing with voter registration and school resource officers to the three-day gathering of middle school students from throughout Kentucky held December 2-4 at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville and the state Capitol in Frankfort.

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Sixth grade students Emily Detre and Ellah Pruitt proposed a voter registration bill that each person receive an automatic voter registration by renewal of their driver’s license at age 18 or older. 

Samantha Perkins and Macy Stillwell, both in the eighth grade, introduced legislation proposing that there be one school resource officer per 1000 students, per campus, in every school district in the state.

The resource officer bill was signed into law during the assembly which is a learning conference in which students participate directly in the Commonwealth’s democratic process.

Acting as Senators and Representatives, students wrote, debated, and voted on legislation that affected them. As candidates, lobbyists, or members of the media they experienced the full spectrum of activity that makes up our political process.

As advocates and justices, students argued and judged a legal case in the actual Kentucky Supreme Court chambers.  Officers elected by students served as Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and were appointed to other conference leadership positions.  

Pruitt was chosen as LaRue delegation’s Outstanding Delegate. She was nominated by advisors based on her presence and performance prior to and at the conference, as well as behavior exemplifying of the four core values of the YMCA that sponsored the event.

Pruitt and Laila Downs were recognized by peer chairs on the first night and received Fabulous Speaking Trinkets for their confidence and courage in speaking in their first committee meetings.

Ellee Price and Luke Howell volunteered to be clerks and Cutter Boley volunteered to be a Door Holder while at the Capitol on Day Two of the Assembly. 

The LCMS delegation received a Premier Delegation status for excelling in the areas in which they chose to participate and embodying the spirit and purpose of the conference. Both the delegation and advisers exemplified the YMCA’s four core values of Honesty, Caring, Respect, and Responsibility.

LaRue’s middle school delegation also met all conference requirements including no major disciplinary issues, on-time and complete registration, full caucus participation, and on-time submission of nomination forms.

Abby Lee, the delegation’s adviser who teaches eighth-grade reading and social studies, said KYA provided for her students the knowledge of how Kentucky’s state government brainstorms, creates, debates, and votes on legislation that impacts the day-to-day running of the state.

“Students were able to sit, present, and debate in the actual committee rooms in which our state representatives and senators meet to discuss legislation,” noted Lee, a three-year teaching veteran in her first year at LCMS. “As a classroom teacher and advocate for student success, I believe that the Kentucky Youth Assembly taught my students skills that they can continue to hone as they prepare for high school and beyond.”

Other LCMS delegates who attended KYA included Patrick Butterworth, Allie Cecil, Logan Chatman, Carson Childress, Loralye Daulbaugh, Carsen DeVary, Molly Frye, Caleb Hack, Zachary Hite, Katherine Nall, Ava Osburn, Ryan Brooke Puckett, Ayden Seidl, Aaron Silva, Tanner Skaggs, Jaxson Thomas, and Landon Wells.

Shelly Tucker, an LCMS eighth grade reading and math teacher was co-advisor and Wendy Childress, seventh grade reading and math), attended as chaperone.